Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau may have secured a second term in October’s elections, but he faces a clear mandate from the populace to govern more moderately.
Trudeau’s Liberal Party secured 157 in the Canadian Parliament, falling 13 short of the 170 needed to pass legislation without opposition support. Canada’s Conservative Party, led by Trudeau’s main opponent Andrew Scheer, is framing the election as a small victory despite the fact that Trudeau will remain in office.
“Conservatives have put Justin Trudeau on notice,” Scheer said in his concession speech. “And Mr. Trudeau, when your government falls, Conservatives will be ready, and we will win.”
So, despite an electoral victory, Trudeau is forced to face that fact that Canadians have become more politically divided under his leadership. In particular, the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan saw the Conservative Party dominate at the polls. Both provinces are more rural than Ontario, and have been calling for the construction of a pipeline and more oil-friendly policies, which Liberals have opposed.
The prime minister desperately called for the republic to hold together in the face of deep political division.
“To Canadians in Alberta and Saskatchewan, know that you are an essential part of our great country. I have heard your frustration, and I want to be there to support you,” Trudeau said after the votes were counted. “Let us all work hard to bring our country together.”
The situation becomes even more complicated when you consider that the pro-separatist Quebec Bloc boosted its number of seats by 10. The French-speaking Quebec has long grappled with the idea of separating from Canada entirely.
Clearly, Trudeau’s victory on Monday was anything but total. His image as a neo-liberal western icon has all but diminished since his asset to the prime ministership in 2015 — and the fact that he apparently had an affinity for donning blackface costumes in his late twenties certainly did not help.
But, there’s more to learn from all of this, and the fight for Canada’s future is definitely not over. Here’s Canadian podcaster Stefan Molyneux with the philosophical takeaways from the evening.